Australia's dentists issue warning about dental tourism

29 June 2017

Following a controversial episode of Destination Thailand which appeared to favour going overseas for cosmetic and medical procedures, the ADA has reiterated the dangers of undertaking major dental treatments far from home. 

The risks can be considerable with insufficient time given over to recovery from complex procedures. This heightens the risk of complications that may result in extensive corrective action, and substantial consequential costs that can dwarf the purported savings.

When contemplating going overseas for any dental or medical procedure, the ADA strongly encourages prospective dental tourism travellers  to consider the following: 

The dangers of too many procedures in too little time 
Squeezing complex treatments like root canal surgery, which needs to be conducted over multiple visits at least a week apart, gives teeth and gums too little recovery time, risking a host of different complications. 

Things can go wrong and are expensive to fix 
Any purported savings can be wiped out if corrective work on the original overseas-conducted procedure necessitates a return visit or a consultation with an Australian-qualified dentist who, against best practice, will be required to step in to administer treatment mid-stream. 

Standards may not be as stringent 
While Australian dentists are highly-trained, must be registered and are required to operate in a strictly-regulated environment, not all countries have the same requirements; overseas dentists may not be as qualified as their Australian peers nor use the same quality materials. 

Infection and antibiotic resistance 
"Superbugs", which are resistant to antibiotics used to treat serious infections, are increasingly common in Australia, the direct result of Australians returning home from treatment in overseas hospitals and clinics that do not adhere to Australia's strict infection control protocols.